I often go to God with big prayer requests. My big ask. For family, friends, people who need help. I believe God answers prayer. The Bible encourages us to ask God for what we need—to go boldly with our heartfelt desires.
But in John 15, Jesus calls us to a relationship with Him as the starting point for prayer. He calls Himself the “true vine.” He reminds us that we’re His “branches.” Branches can’t bear fruit apart from the vine.
I’m likely to blow right past that relationship with Jesus in my quest for answered prayer. But Jesus stops me dead in my tracks with these words: If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you (John 15:7 NIV).
Remain is from the Greek word meno, which means “to abide, or dwell.” I’m to make my home with Jesus. To plant myself in Him. To plant His words in me. When I remain in Him and His words remain in me, I’m more likely to be praying His will—a prerequisite to answered prayer.
Powerful words. Powerful reminder. Do I really get that? I’m struck by the fact that Jesus uses the word remain eleven times in the first ten verses of John Chapter 15. If I tell my kids something eleven times, you can sure as heck bet I mean it!
Here are the same words from Jesus in a different version—my watchword for today: If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you (John 15:7 ESV).
What does abiding look like for me practically?
- I carve out time with the Lord each morning. I like to plant the seeds of His Word first thing.
- I try to pace myself throughout the day to keep in step with His leading.
- I remain alert to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
- I’m fierce with my “Sabbath.” Humans need to come apart or we “come apart.” Rest is vital if we want to remain in Christ.
- I seek wise counsel from those who have learned the secret of resting, reflection, and abiding in Christ.
Prayer: Lord, it’s all about the relationship with You—answered prayer is just a by-product. And like any habit, the pay-off of abiding is long term. Help me to be faithful in the “dailyness.”